Posts Tagged With: adventure


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Jim drove us to a canyon overlook with miles and miles of desert at a place he holds dear. He spent time here with the WINS, a singles group that would gather the wagons, so to speak, and light a huge bonfire and enjoy the beautiful skies, the peace the quiet and serenity that you find in special places.

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He and others from the group would 4-wheel among the hillocks on the shallow canyon floor and to me it is just a desecration of nature. I don’t appreciate the tracks or dust of such a sport, so while he looked fondly, I walked the canyon rim looking for pretty rocks and taking pictures.

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What is nice about places like this, right off the California highway S 22, is there are multiple spots anyone can pull over to enjoy the views. Each canyon will be different. The Salton Sea is visible in the background, but barely since it was slightly hazy on this day.

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The light doesn’t do its magic as the sun moves across the crags and fissures as it does in the Grand Canyon, but these small, canyons have an appeal of their own. It surprised me that we didn’t see a lizard, a bird or anything alive. I’m sure they exist, but not to any excess.

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Had we had time, I think hiking the canyons would be interesting. The pictures are better in a full screen slide-show. I took 39 of them, if you’d like to see them.

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I like that our lifestyle allows us to seek out places like this and enjoy  dinner with a view. As night clamped down, the haze prevented any stars from showing. I got up twice during the night to see if it cleared, but only a sliver of a moon peeked through a gray haze.

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Before light the next morning, some bright stars were out along with a heavy wind. I set my camera for night scene, but it just isn’t good enough to capture a star.

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The Great Adventure Dinette Window Photos – Final Update

Back on November 29, 2011, I began what was my 6th circumnavigation of the United States. It was Mary’s 2nd. It ended on October 10, 2013.

I called it The Great Adventure, because it was different from my other five circumnavigations…in which the routes were kinda-sorta preplanned. This time…with the exceptions of attending my oldest grand-daughter’s high school graduation in June 2013 in southeastern Connecticut…I didn’t know where we would be going or when we would be there! Hence…The Great Adventure.

The only plan was to live a day-to-day lifestyle and let the winds blow us where they may!

Another thing different about this circumnavigation…in addition to our daily Blog entries documenting our experiences…is in every overnight parking spot I decided to take a photo out of our dinette window.

For instance, here’s the first one from the VFW at Wellton, Arizona…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view...

Wellton, AZ

And here’s the view out of our dinette window at our parking location at the Dancing Eagle Casino RV Park, Casa Blanca, New Mexico…

During the course of this 682 day circumnavigation, we parked in 175 locations. In addition you need to know that when I parked the motorhome…I did not say to myself…where’s the best view? It is strictly by chance what view ended up outside of our window.

You need also to remember that we overnighted a lot at free locations such as Eagles and Moose Clubs, American Legion, VFW and Elks Clubs where the views are not always spectacular…but usually somewhat interesting!

Finally I started taking these photos once we departed Yuma, Arizona. Prior to that time all the previous overnight parking locations are repeats from previous times since I travel those routes somewhat regularly.

Unfortunately this Picasa Web Album decided to partially malfunction. It has “lost” a few and in addition, has them somewhat out of the chronological order in which they were taken. That being said, they still can be enjoyed.

I’ve got 129 out-of-the-dinette-window photos in the final collection. You can see them all by clicking the below link. Once there, click the slide show button…

After viewing the 129 photos I think you’ll agree that the full-time RVing lifestyle exemplifies the saying of “Variety Is The Spice Of Life”! The constant changing of scenery, people, local foods and music is most stimulating. I never tire of it!

It’s fun for me to look at the about 129 photos that finally ended up in this collection. I hope you enjoy them as well.

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of California. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…


Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures with low humidity most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein


On October 27, 2012, I created a two-minute video titled America The Beautiful. The music America The Beautiful is by Christopher W. French. The photos, which I randomly selected, are from the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia (not shown in that order)…are mine. Yup, That’s me standing in front of the Post Office in Luckenbach, Texas…Y’all!

Click this link to start the video. Make sure you have your speakers turned on and go to full screen asap.

If you would like to see my YouTube videos, click this link…

If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2013
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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To resume my visit to China in 2006, we are in Kunming, The City Of Eternal Spring. It  is a very temperate area  known for its plant diversity. Most of China’s flower species come from Kunming with its  pleasant,  temperate climate. We see commercial flower gardens and orchards around Kunming, but  our tour will take us to  Shilin, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, a surrealistic  “orchard” of stone.

The drive  to this unique landscape  through a three-mile long tunnel, and we worry about it caving in, probably unreasonably so. But, safety isn’t foremost in Chinese projects, we think. The tunnel replaced a twisty, tortuous road, we are told. Then we take a shuttle to the base of the 200 acres of what are called karst towers, formed 270 million years ago as the Himalayas were forming.

It’s a lovely spot by a lake, but the sign that greets us with tortured interpretations was a hoot though well intentioned. We were relieved to know what we buy here will be genuine.

Yunnan Province has many minority people.  And we see them come to Shilin to get married, or celebrate special events in their lives. The most prominent minority in this region is the Yi people. The Suni Muslims are a branch of the Yi people. There are black Yis and white Yis. The black Yis enslaved the white Yis because they admired the rare  black tigers of Asia over the white tigers. The Yi were great hunters and wrestlers, strong and muscular. They walk in fire and have fire torch festivals unique to the area.  Mau banished slavery among the Yis.  Another nearby minority is the Hui people, called barbarians. They arrived here with Kublai Khan.  A very informative website can be found at the following link.


The area does resemble a stone forest, which is the common name for Shilin.

The karst formations are  limestone and were shaped by a receding inland sea and harsh winds.

It was an easy,  pleasant  hike through the “forest” and one could imagine what it must have been like for ancient children  to climb and play on the formations.

We hiked around the lake and took pictures. There are caves and waterfalls deeper inside the forest, but we were given a limited time here. Without a guide it would be easy to become disoriented and lost if we wandered too far off the path.

The people in their special native dress were fascinating, anyway.

The costumes are somewhat different, but always the main color of red and yellow.

The Yi men show their single status by the way they wear their feathers. A girl shows interest in a man by touching her horn.

Vicki speculated this was some type of local holiday celebration. It seemed very romantic to us with couples and singlels having their picture taken by the lake.

Near the gift shop, this gent was  fiddling with a musical instrument. We figured there would be a musical event later in the day.

By lunchtime, the place was mobbed.  I saw that under the costume the girls wear street clothes, kind of like we do for high school graduation.


This woman may have been a different minority with similar costume. I enjoyed people watching as much as the stone formations.

The Stone Forest is seventy-five miles from Kunming and actually makes its own weather. At certain times of years, storms roar out of the caves and water cascades from the high formations. We will move on to Urumichi and visit a Yi village.

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Some adventures are questionable,  like this one:

Returning from Sonora, I stopped at a gas station. The driveway is practically a block long, how can you miss it?  A sweeping curve is not sweeping. It has an impediment, a curb. Pop!  I hit the curb with my back right tire.

Road service arrived. Vic’s guy was terrific.

He said, “Happens all the time. You think your back end will follow through. I’ve hit that same curb myself.  That driveway was widened and they didn’t do it  right.”  True or not, he made me feel better about a lousy and expensive fix. He told me the tire got pinched and isn’t fixable.

My consolation prize?  A meltingly beautiful sunset.  Life is beautiful.



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Goals come and go or  they change with the passing years. When I was a kid, I wanted hair as long as this woman.  Now I’m quite happy with short hair. At one time it was my goal to parachute from an airplane and try hang gliding. My husband convinced me it was unfair to risk leaving my children without a mother if something went wrong. I never regretted rearranging my goals over the years because life was so full of wondrous things.

I first considered walking  the Appalachian Trail about  25 years ago, but it wasn’t a fire-breathing dragon goal, just a simmer at the back of the brain.  The length of the trail, which stretches from Maine to Georgia, is about 2,150 miles. Pretty daunting when you realize you have to carry everything with you, cooking utensils, tent, emergency medical kit, food, water. Adventurists who have done it term it a  life changing experience.

That goal re-emerged when I met a friend of Jim’s who is walking the Appalachian Trail in pieces.  Hilda is in her late 70’s, a former marine and in good health. She walks with two other women bit, by bit, mile by mile, each year. There are others who tackle the entire length, which takes around 5 months.  Jim and I have entered small areas of the trail while traveling the East Coast. Once in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, and again at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and several places on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The urge began to stir anew. Good health is key to a 2,000 mile hike no matter how you do it.

Last night, we went to a seminar on hip, knee and shoulder replacements. I’m a candidate for hip replacement. I know I can’t walk the trail without doing something about an arthritic hip. I was amazed at what I learned about hip replacement, including an opinion from one participating surgeon that surgically replacing hips will be a thing of the past in possibly 20 years. I can’t wait that long for new technology. Now, is the time.

Pain is a motivator. For me, a greater motivator to consider hip replacement  surgery, is the current book I’m reading, Bill Bryson’s, A Walk In The Woods. Bryson walked the  Appalachian Trail in a five month stretch. I’m hoping that someone out there has walked the trail and will message me about their experience.  And, I will post some of Bryson’s  observations as I read. I’m also looking for a walking companion because this is not on Jim’s agenda.

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